Joe Zawinul: Stories of the Danube + Terence Blanchard Quintet with the BBC Concert Orchestra

LONDON Barbican
Silk Street


A rare performance of Joe Zawinul’s grand orchestral vision of one of the world’s great rivers, conducted by his friend Kristjan Järvi.

Renowned keyboardist Django Bates has been added as featured soloist, alongside Jeremias Keller (bass) and Martin France (drums), for the first UK performance of Joe Zawinul’s late masterpiece Stories of the Danube, with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by the brilliant conductor Kristjan Jarvi, close collaborator with Zawinul in the last years of his life.

This concert marks the 10th anniversary of Zawinul’s passing in 2007, in a year when he was scheduled to perform at the Barbican with the BBC Big Band.  In the event, the concert went ahead as a memorable tribute event, with Django Bates contributing his own keyboard virtuosity in memory the Zawinul legacy.

In Stories of the Danube the rich textures of the orchestral palette meet the fire and momentum of contemporary jazz, as the music follows the course of the river through continental Europe and into the Black Sea. Estonian-born Järvi was a close collaborator with Zawinul in the years before his untimely passing – months before he was due to play here for the 2007 Festival – and tonight pays tribute to this seminal figure in jazz as composer, keyboard virtuoso and co-founder of Weather Report.

Alongside the symphony the trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard and his Quintet will join the BBC Concert Orchestra in the UK premiere of a new extended piece, Herbie Hancock: By Himself, which was inspired by Hancock’s impressionistic piano solos. Complemented with music drawn from the composer’s score for the recent Robert de Niro film The Comedians, it’s a piece which harks back to that classic Blue Note sound of the 1960s and is a perfect accompaniment to the sweeping evocation of the Danube.

Terence Blanchard (trumpet)

Brice Winston (tenor sax)

Shai Maestro (piano)

Tabari Lake (bass)

Kendrick Scott (drums)

Quiana Lynell (vocalist)

Part of our 25 for 25 commissioning programme.

  • 25 for 25 New Music Matters